This was a small panel, and they started by saying they wanted it to be a conversation. No powerpoint.
He said as a director, it’s his responsibility to his city council to have tech needs. They have to make that need known to the powers that be.
They asked what our tech needs are. Melissa Brisbane started speaking. She started out behind the circ desk as an assistant. She clarified that every staff member is responsible for offering tech service. All staff members should be trained and working on core competencies. We shouldn’t rely on one person.
When she started, she was self taught.
Here is where I swtiched sessions to “Introverted Leadership.”
This was another panel, but questions were pre-planned of the four panelists.
How do you recharge?
James Keebler talked about how he talks with his staff and that recharges him. Karen talked about laughter. Susan said you have to recharge with people you trust. One day she actually ate lunch in her car. It’s a way to recharge. She also wants to give her staff time to complain about her.
What should we keep in mind when working with staff?
Karen said to keep in mind that not everyone has the same strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone is the same every day. When we are working on a project, we have to remember where staff members are at. Susan said it’s important to not box ourselves in and not say “I’m a this or that.” We shouldn’t limit ourselves. We can do anything we set our minds to.
Do you have advice to introverts regarding leadership?
Susan said, “you can do it!” She does a ton of research before she does anything. If you are the most researched person in the room, that will help you. You can’t “shoot from the hip” all the time. Read management books, take courses in leadership, learn the business side of the house. Preparing needs to happen whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. Karen said to take on projects and start small. Take opportunities to stretch and grow. James said leaders need to have integrity and trust, and everyone can do that. Do a task to the best of your ability. Humility also doesn’t hurt. Be who you are and find other introverts to bring along with you.
Do you have advice for extroverts in working with introverts?
Karen said to know she will take a step back in meetings. Don’t take it as a sign of weakness. She said she needs time to defrazzle. James said “we don’t need to be fixed.” There is nothing wrong with us (laughter). Everyone fears public speaking and going up to people. Give introverts a chance to feel comfortable. Susan said if you follow an extroverted leader, it can be hard, but you have to be direct and honest. One time she had to give a talk in front of her staff, and she sounded like a politician. But, she is diplomatic. Over time, she has become more comfortable in saying what she thinks. Karen said, as an introvert, she never says “we are doing something” without having a plan.
They then asked the audience for questions.
Karen said she doesn’t do social things with staff, especially as a supervisor. She backs off if staff are having a bad time, until they are ready to get back on track. James said directors can be the lonliest position. Every decision is so critical. He has key people he talks to, and he also vents to his wife. He likes to go to other people’s desks or their areas instead of his, so it’s less intimidating. Organizationally, my job is to make tough decisions.
Karen said, “remember, it’s a book. It’s a program.”
Susan said, “no babies will die. If a conflict happens, no babies will die.”
Someone asked about being frazzled and how to balance being available and taking time.
Susan said she used the computer lab to do children’s programs, if she had to time to carve space. We don’t want to burn anyone out. Hiding in rooms not being used helped her get things done.
How do you manage?
Karen said she has staff take notes when they talk, so they are “hearing” the same things. It helps verify what they are all thinking. James doesn’t do a lot of “checking back” so he can build trust.
Susan said as an introverted leader, hire people smarter and better than you. Delegation is your friend.
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